This book is gorgeous and haunting in its depictions of loss, family, and the opioid epidemic. The poem “Portraits of the Family as a Definition” is absolute genius, riffing off a dictionary definition to contain the pain and grief of a family struggling to understand addiction and overdose; the poem “The Mother Talks to Her Son about Her Heart” made me cry; and the poems called “reverse overdose” one through six, scattered throughout the collection, are nuggets of insight that really bring into focus McCadden's brother’s life and struggles. My favorite line is on page 18 in the poem “Losing”: “I keep / a jar of nails like a bouquet of denial.” Oh, this little but mighty book; this poet’s broken heart and fine, fine writing.— Sam
In Keep This To Yourself, grief is a violent machine, with each new poem Kerrin McCadden unscrews every bolt of this grief until it falls apart. Cutting through the complex layers of loss she writes about how bereavement moves through her family like a sickness. What good is silence in the face of trauma? McCadden plunges into the truth, and shows us the world on the other side.